Bolton Council has a duty to provide free schools meals, which comply with national nutritional standards, to eligible pupils. The Council also has a scheme to help families buy essential school clothing.


You can get free school meals and school clothing allowance if your child attends a local authority maintained school (not private) and you receive one of the following:

  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit only with an annual income of less then £16,190
  • Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 

To be eligible for school clothing allowance the child must be in year seven or nine.

From September 2014 the Government has confirmed that ALL pupils in Reception, Year 1 & Year 2 in a local authority maintained school (not private) will be eligible to have a Free School Meal. This will be called a Universal Free School Meal. 

There are some special circumstances for children who attend: 

  1. Nursery - they must attend a local authority maintained nursery (not private nursery) for a full day. Full day means that they must go in the morning and in the afternoon. This education must be free.
  2. Children aged 16 to 19 -  they must attend one of the following 6th forms
  • Westhoughton
  • Kearsley Academy
  • Turton
  • Thornleigh
  • Canon Slade
  • Firwood and Runworth
  • Rivington and Blackrod
  • St Catherines Academy 

From September 2014 children who are attending any Sixth form college (not private) will be eligible.

How do I apply?

You do not need to make a separate claim for a free school meals or school clothing allowance  if you are already in receipt or have applied for housing benefit or help with your council tax . We will use the information and evidence you have already provided to confirm your entitlement to free school meals and school clothing allowance.

You may need to provide an up to date document showing that you are getting one of the above benefits or support.

If you do not have any proof or need to ask a question please contact us for advice.

Check to see if you are entitled and make an online claim

Go to the benefits calculator

Housing Benefits

Bolton Council

P.O. Box 4



Telephone 01204 331590
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